I just spent $50 on a luggage tag. Worth it?

As many of you know, I’m in Australia this week in Sydney, enjoying all this beautiful country has to offer.

I’ve briefly mentioned several times so far about how thoroughly impressed I am with the service on Qantas – overall, I think they have a well oiled machine of an operation, and I envy them not being in the United States as a domestic carrier.

I’ve taken two domestic trips with them this week – one from Brisbane to Melbourne, and the other from Melbourne to Sydney. Due to limitations on the weight of carry-on luggage you can bring aboard, I was forced to check my suitcase both times.

The first time I used the traditional paper tag – I walked up to the Business check-in line, gave my passport, and waited for the white sticker to print out to affix to my bag – pretty standard. It was by this point that I really started noticing passengers with discs as luggage tags that were scanned as used in lieu of the traditional paper tags. Interesting. Tons of Qantas flyers seem to have them.

After landing in Melbourne, I inquired as to what they were and found out that they were Qantas’s Q Bag Tag, where the barcode on the side is used to transit your luggage throughout the process.

Here’s what I found out about the tags:

  • Despite the tags having different colors because of your status, it actually doesn’t mean anything when it comes to checking the bag — all of the tags work the same way and it’s because of your frequent flyer number being imbedded in the reservation that they know to handle your bags in a priority manner.
  • The tags have resulted in a lot less lost luggage for the airline, and also allows airline personnel to focus on other tasks rather than checking bags in, since this is now, for the most part, an automated function.
  • No personal data is stored on the tags, so if you lose them or it is ripped off, you don’t have to worry about any sensitive information floating around. The reservation details are scanned into the barcode on the tag, but no details are stored in the tag itself.
  • They can only be used for domestic travel — your Los Angeles to Sydney flight will not work with these tags.

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Qantas frequent flyers receive them free, and for everyone else, there’s a 2 for 1 special where you can get them for $50. Okay, I bit in to this. The tags not only looked cool, but I figured it would be an awesome excuse to return to Australia. 🙂 Yeah, as a predominantly US flyer, will I have a chance to use the tags soon (hopefully!)? Probably not, but they make a cool conversation piece at least. 😉

Here’s a quick video to show you how Qantas advertises the tags in their “faster, smarter” check-in:

I’m disappointed US airlines haven’t implemented this yet, though if they’re a bust for Qantas flyers, I guess it doesn’t matter. So…

I’m curious to see if any of you Qantas frequent flyers have the tags and how you find them to work. Are they more efficient? Do they speed up the process? Would you pay $50 for them?

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